Spontaneous fungal peritonitis: a rare but severe complication of liver cirrhosis

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Abstract

Introduction and aim

Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is the most common infectious complication in cirrhosis. Spontaneous fungal peritonitis is rare and remains unknown. In this work, spontaneous fungal peritonitis as well as risk factors and prognosis are characterized.

Patients and methods

A retrospective case–control study of 253 consecutive admissions by peritonitis in cirrhotic patients was carried out between 2006 and 2015. Comparison of patients with spontaneous fungal peritonitis (cases) and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis with positive microbiologic ascitic fluid culture (controls) was performed. Variables such as sociodemographic and clinical features, cirrhosis etiology, liver dysfunction scores, ascitic and laboratory parameters, invasive procedures, and prognosis were evaluated.

Results

Of the 231 patients, eight (3.5%) developed spontaneous fungal peritonitis, 62.5% of cases being coinfected with bacteria. Candida spp. was isolated in 87.5% of cases, mainly Candida albicans (37.5%) and C. krusei (25.0%). Patients with spontaneous fungal peritonitis had higher ascitic fluid lactate dehydrogenase (288.4±266.6 vs. 161.0±179.5; P=0.011), blood leukocyte count (15187.5±5432.3 vs. 10969.8±6949.5; P=0.028), blood urea nitrogen (69.8±3.1 vs. 36.3±25.5; P=0.001), higher number of invasive procedures (colonoscopy: 25.0 vs. 0.8%, P=0.001; urinary catheterization: 87.5 vs. 49.6%, P=0.038; nasogastric intubation: 87.5 vs. 26.9%, P=0.001), and longer duration of hospital stay (30.0±32.9 vs. 18.9±17.0 days; P=0.031). No statistical difference was found between the two groups for Model for End-Stage Liver Disease, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease–sodium, and Child–Pugh scores. Spontaneous fungal peritonitis was associated with a worse prognosis, particularly severe sepsis/septic shock (87.5 vs. 42.8%, P=0.023), admission in the gastroenterology intensive care unit (87.5 vs. 24.4%; P=0.001), and overall (62.5 vs. 31.9%; P=0.039) or 30-day mortality (50.0 vs. 24.4%; P=0.034), with a mean diagnosis-death time of 17.6±11.5 days.

Conclusion

Despite being a rare condition, spontaneous fungal peritonitis was associated with worse prognosis and higher mortality than SBP. The ascitic fluid lactate dehydrogenase, blood leukocyte count and urea nitrogen, invasive procedures, and longer admission time were independent risk factors for spontaneous fungal peritonitis.

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